(2014) Interior

This is currently streaming on Amazon Prime video for free and probably to rent but I swear I just stumbled upon it randomly. Initially, it kind of plunges into the usual, cliche, supernatural film but eventually evolves into so much more.

With these low-budget movies, my complaints usually run so rampant that I just pick the most important ones. I really have only one complaint with this one though and that’s your classic, unnecessary exposition scene. I kept that complaint warming in the oven until the end, figuring it may have had its place but that’s not the case. In fact, the film would have actually been improved without it.

The main actor himself his really charismatic and likable. That’s just so fucking unusual to find in a low-budget film and something we take for granted from experienced cast members.

Anyways, I’m not going to give anything away. I just wanted to put the word out there that this is a really fucking good take on a common horror premise and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The writer/director/actor Zachary Beckler has a promising future in the film industry.

7.5/10

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(1973) The Hourglass Sanatorium

This film really taps into my weakness for visually immersive, surrealism horror. It’s psychedelic and dreamlike; the fluidity of the pacing alone is worth merit.

That said, the film was grating to endure and not because of difficult subject matter but more so, it’s just overflowing with so much pretentious and seemingly random bullshit. You find yourself scrambling to piece together metaphors or some kind of tangible timeline. It’s seriously pretty unenjoyable after the first hour or so.

I did not enjoy it.

4/10

(1945) Dead of Night

I marked this film under anthology but it’s not exactly one in the traditional sense, more just in how the story is structured.

Anyways, this is a clear inspiration for The Twilight Zone and just the structure alone felt way ahead of its time. It’s a nightmarish journey adapting many horror traits but really building a foundation around surrealism. There’s just so much that stands out as influential to modern horror that I’m a bit surprised to have never heard of this film before.

It’s one of the earliest examples of a film that initially inspired skepticism from strange acting, performances that ended up being integral to the heart of the film. If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone, definitely check this out.

7.5/10

(1994) Cemetery Man

I found a surprising level of depth for this film which is in part, sort of a b-movie, except the humor, horror and romance aspects are all executed gracefully. It’s sort of like that late-night drunk meal you make just using random shit in your fridge that somehow turns out to be sort of amazing, albeit objectively shitty.

There’s some technical shit like blended CGI, mismatched prosthetic skin tones and visible wires that should have been hidden. I feel like somehow though, the kind of rough-around-the-edges production lends to the strange fluidity of the story itself.

There’s so many scenes that are just stuck in my head at the moment. Soavi crafts these absolute absurd scenarios that are obviously tongue-in-cheek but done so in such a bold and creative fashion. I’m obviously having a hard time describing them without giving away spoilers but this films humor goes far beyond slapstick comedy.

I’ve sort of come to my own conclusions and others have their own theories but the ending is undoubtedly thought provoking. I really enjoyed this one.

7.5/10

(2017) The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The realm in which Yorgos Lanthimos’ films exist, is a unique one and to some, might be stylistically off putting. I like to equate his style of filmmaking to that of Wes Anderson, mostly in that, if you’re not a fan of his previous films, chances are, none of his later ones will change your mind.

In this universe, characters communicate in odd, rigid dialogue that personally makes me pleasantly uncomfortable, especially in the confines of a dark film. It makes some of the most typical and mundane interactions seem so incredibly strange. It’s that background strangeness that really creates tension, while leaving out more conventional methods of doing so.

Barry Keoghan is a standout in this film. His portrayal of Martin was downright chilling. Just the range of acting this kid has with small changes in the cadence of his voice is impressive.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is boastfully complex but not excessively. A single viewing filled me with that trepidation that most great psychological thrillers have but also felt like a complete film I could understand. It wasn’t until later, while laying in bed that I pondered over all the small details I remembered, seemingly lending themselves intentionally to deeper meanings and symbolism.

I fucking love Yorgos and this movie was fantastic.

9/10

(1972) Images

I actually have chills right now. This was the scariest film I’ve seen in a long time.

Robert Altman’s Images is an exhibition into how to fully encapsulate an idea within the confines of a visually and sonically refined film. You could throw away the plot entirely and I’d still tell you this is one of the best looking films, period. You could even strip away the beautiful landscapes of Ireland and the haunting score of chimes, coupled with high pitched strings, could carry the film on any set.

Great performances all around and one of the finest psychological horror films to date.

9/10

(1961) The Innocents

This is simply one of the most beautifully shot horror films from the early 60’s. Every frame is truly a picture and for that alone, I’d call this a must watch for horror fans.

The Innocents really goes beyond the cinematography though and gives us an incredibly powerful, character driven haunted house film. The narrative never definitively leads you in one way or the other and this confusion is something that holds through to the credits. This is something a lot of filmmakers try and do but few succeed at. The difference when it comes to towing that line is in the small details and eerie subtleties that help the viewer form their own opinion at the end.

I’m not sure what else to say, performances are all fantastic and it’s simply one of the best haunted house films I’ve ever seen.

9/10